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Samsung closing gap on Apple in tablet market

Computer HardwareApple iPadTim Cook
When it comes to tablets, Apple remains the dominant leader, but rival Samsung is starting to catch up
Samsung closing gap on Apple in tablet market

When it comes to tablets, Apple remains the dominant leader, but rival Samsung is catching up.

Apple iPad sales fell from 19.5 million during the first quarter of 2013 to 16.4 million during that period this year. At the same, Samsung grew its tablet sales from 8.5 million to 11.2 million during the first quarter of 2014, according to figures released this week by IDC, an analysis firm. 

Those sales caused Apple's share of the tablet market to fall from 40.2% a year ago to 32.5% in the first quarter while Samsung grew its share of the market from 17.5% to 22.3%.

During the period, Samsung released a handful of new tablets, including the Galaxy NotePro and Galaxy TabPro, with numerous productivity features that were aimed toward professionals. The company also packaged its tablets with other devices and products in numerous carrier promotions. The tactics seem to be paying off. 

"Samsung continues to work aggressively with carriers to drive tablet shipments through attractively priced smartphone bundles," IDC said in a statement. 

The whole market struggled with sales during the first quarter of 2014. According to IDC, tablet sales grew only 3.9% from a year ago. Along with Apple, Asus and Amazon also saw their tablet sales decrease compared with one year ago.

"The rise of large-screen phones and consumers who are holding on to their existing tablets for ever longer periods of time were both contributing factors to a weaker-than-anticipated quarter for tablets and 2-in-1s," Tom Mainelli, IDC program vice president of devices and displays, said in a statement.

The slowdown indicates that 2014 could be a tough year for tablets in general, IDC said. 

For Apple, the pressure is on to improve the sales of its iPads. In April, the company posted surprisingly positive results, but the only blemish for the quarter was the decrease in sales of its tablets. 

Analysts asked Apple how it plans to turn this around, and Chief Executive Tim Cook answered that the company plans to grow on the success that iPad sales have found in the education and enterprise markets, where there is still plenty of room for growth. 

"And so once again, just like in education in a way, what we have to do in enterprise is focus on penetration," Cook said during Apple's earnings call last week. "It has to be deeper and broader. But in terms of having people begin the process, beginning writing apps, we’re doing a pretty good job of that."   

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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